Today was another gift from Hashem and a very moving day - I had the privilege of visiting and spending time with one of the IDF's best units on the Gaza border. We spoke about celebrating Rosh Hashana while being on maximum alert. We also had a lengthy question-and-answer session that was really inspiring. For example:
Sergeant R: Rabbi, the guys expect me to be the Chazan on Rosh Hashana. Halacha says that the chazan must be a tzaddik. How can I be Chazan when I'm far from being a tzaddik?
LB: The fact that you think you're unworthy, R, shows that you really are humble and very worthy. Besides, you put your life on the line 24/7 down here for the Jewish people; what other Chazan in the world can say that?
Corporal T: Rabbi, will Hashem really hear our prayers? We have to rush through them because down here, we must be prepared to be mounted and combat ready in a few short minutes. Also, we have to pray in shifts to switch off our buddies in their duty stations; it's not like praying at home...
LB: T, there's no angel in the sky who'd dare interfere with an infantryman's prayers ascending from the Gaza border. You guys are pure dedication. If I weren't going to Uman, I'd be proud and privileged to pray with you right here.
After my visit, I met with the platoon and company commanders who told me that this particular platoon's morale, performance and unity are the best in their brigade. That's what emuna does for soldiers. By the way, this particular platoon has 15 Baalei Teshuvas now - no wonder their motivation and morale are so high, they fully believe in what they're doing.
These guys are ready. We need to spread more emuna among the IDF's fighting men, and that's exactly what we're trying to do.
Here are a few wonderful shots from David Bader's superb camera:
1. LB checking out combat readiness
2. Questions and answers
3. Choose your weapon
4. A blessing for Rosh Hashana